Friday, April 20, 2007

April 20th Log

1952, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
Repeat Viewing, DVD

With Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Ozu uses his traditional simplistic filmmaking methods with a blend of some complex camera work including detailed tracking shots (usually in transitions of scenes). Overall the film is absolutely breathtaking on a visual level and different from the standard Ozu style. Of course Ozu is a mastery of subtle aesthetics, and even though he implores some variety of techniques or camera movement, Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice is at its most emotionally powerful and poetic when the camera is static (such as in the unforgettable sequence that finds Taeko on the train alone reflecting or escaping the imagined happiness of her marriage). The emotional connection is also evident as here Ozu presents the relationship of a middle-aged husband and wife who are losing interest in their arranged marriage. Like his 1937 comedy What Did the Lady Forget?, this often recalls the tone of Ernst Lubitsch influence in its playfulness. The film is certainly among Ozu's most light-hearted films and still contains much of the subtle sad melodrama he was accustomed for. The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice is a touching and hopeful film of the strength and revival of love. Ozu expresses sympathy for the husband but does not judge or condescend the husband or the wife, rather detailing the relationship of an arranged married couple with conflicting interests and lifestyles. The opening scenes set the playful tone, as both the husband and wife are seen by lying, or perhaps they are just hiding their true feelings from each other and from themselves. The wife seems to get a revelation of her own selfish and understands that what she thinks she despise about her husband could actually be what she loves. In the end there is hope and Ozu closes the film with a playful tracking shot that embodies the Lubitsch-touch tone of the film. With Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice Ozu slightly alters his traditional postwar style while keeping the lasting emotional depth and themes, and ultimately the result remains as universal as his greatest masterworks.

>>> More on Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice @ A2P Cinema's Yasujiro Ozu website HERE

>>> Here is a short but memorable clip of Taeko on the train after just arguing with her husband:


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